Long-time visitors to Talpa  will be happy to know that Hacienda Jacarandas Bed and Breakfast (tel. 333/447-7366, fax 388/385-0669, www.haciendajacarandas.com , closed Easter–June), the splendidly isolated country inn a couple of miles out of town, is back in business after a four-year hiatus. Friendly owners Guy Lawlor and Bill Worth seem to be continuing as in previous years, with five comfortable guest bedrooms with private baths, panoramic valley and mountain views, a 55-foot lap pool, and hot tub. All this for reasonable rates ($42 s, $62 d), including breakfast.
Get there from town by taxi, on foot, or by car, all via the bridge at the southeast end of town, past Hotel Pedregal, on the eastern extension of Calle 23 de Junio. Cross the bridge. Immediately turn right onto the road that runs west along the river levee. After 0.6 mile (1 km), follow the lane that forks to the left. Continue along the lane uphill for about two miles (3 km) to Hacienda Jacarandas, on the left.
Alternatively, back in town, check out the good hotel choices right on the Talpa plaza. Note: Talpa hoteliers rent rooms by the number of beds, rather than the number of guests. If two of you can fit into one bed, you get the cheapest rate. It makes for cozy traveling.
The most elite choice downtown is the Hotel La Misión (corner of Hidalgo and Guerrero, tel. 388/385-0202), behind the cathedral. The hotel’s shiny tiled lobby leads past an inviting restaurant/bar, Los Venados, to an intimate fountain and garden tucked in a sunny rear patio. Upstairs, rooms are spacious, clean, and attractively decorated in polished wood furniture and flowery bedspreads. Some of the 40 rooms have private balconies overlooking the cobbled lane below. Rentals run a very reasonable $20 one bed, $25 two beds, $35 three beds, except during festivals, when prices rise to about $25, $40, and $55; with fans, hot water, and TV.
Adjacent to the Hotel La Misión stands the clean, modestly priced Hotel Santuario (Hidalgo 12, tel. 388/385-0046). Owners offer 38 modern, attractively furnished rooms, with hot-water shower baths, arranged around an interior patio. Get an upper-rear room for most privacy and quiet, especially during festivals. Rentals cost a reasonable $23 one bed, $33 two beds, and $41 three beds; add $5 during festivals. With fans or air-conditioning (add $10) and a restaurant.
Another good choice is the humbler but homier family-run Posada Olas Altas (Juárez 27, tel. 388/385-0329), a block east behind the market. Here, the 23 plainly furnished but clean rooms vary from small and private to dormitories with many beds for whole extended families. Rooms without bath (shared bathrooms down the hall) cost about $12 one bed, $20 two beds, and $30 three beds. Add about $4 for private bath.
Alternatively, take a look at the spic-and-span new Hotel Plaza (Independencia 20, tel. 388/385-0086), directly in front of the cathedral. Here, 33 shiny white-tiled rooms with bright new furnishings occupy two stories fronting the town plaza. Guests in the street-front rooms enjoy views of the colorful cathedral plaza hubbub below. For peace and quiet, ask for a room in the rear. Rates run about $23 one bed, $28 two beds, and $35 three beds, with fans, TV, and hot water.
Except during fiestas, reservations are not generally necessary in Talpa hotels. If, however, you arrive when the town is crowded with pilgrims and the above hotels are filled, the following two will do in an emergency. Try the Hotel Pedregal (23 de Junio 20, tel. 388/385-0274, tel./fax 388/385-0680), one block west and two blocks south, downhill, from the plaza. The 56 tastefully redecorated rooms with bath around an inviting, plant-decorated patio rent for about $21 for one bed, $32 two beds; add about $6 during fiestas.
Hotel Los Arcos (Independencia 82, tel. 388/385-0272), two blocks north of the plaza, has drably furnished rooms, in two tiers, that surround an oft-noisy central patio and rent for about $15 per bed.
Camping is customary around Talpa, especially during festivals. Privacy, however, is not. Unless you find an isolated spot a mile or so away from town, you’ll probably have to cope with a flock of curious children. Try to find a spot on the far side of the river that runs south of town.
Camping prospects are much better along the pine-shaded shoreline of Corinches Reservoir, near Mascota, about 10 miles north. The principal amenities are a good palapa restaurant, space to picnic and/or set up a tent or park an RV, swimming, a boat ramp, and the lobina (large-mouth bass) prized by anglers. You can see Corinches Reservoir downhill south and west of the Mascota–Talpa road. Easiest access is from downtown Mascota .